Tampons and Pads Will Be Free in New York City Schools and Prisons

Tampon (Lydia's Lunchbox)

Tampon (Lydia’s Lunchbox)

Last year, the New York City council voted in favor of providing free tampons and pads to women in public schools, shelters and correctional facilities. The measure passed unanimously, and the program will be the first of its kind.

It’s expected that the city will spend $2.4M for menstrual supplies across the public facilities. Within shelters, an estimated “2 million tampons and 3.5 million pads” will be distributed for the 23K women, costing $540K annually.

Here’s how it would work for public schools:

Dispensers will be installed in the girls’ bathrooms at 800 schools, reaching 300,000 students at an initial cost of $3.7 million and $1.9 million annually thereafter.

The bill was created by New York City Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland. Regarding why the bill was important, Ferreras-Copeland said, “Menstrual hygiene products are as necessary as toilet paper and should be treated as basic bathroom supplies.”

There’s also the fact that menstrual products are a necessary expense for women of childbearing age. This expense, which has been dubbed the “tampon tax” (though it refers to all types of menstrual products), takes a chunk (around $100 per year) out of women’s already diminished paychecks. Lately, there’s been some pushback on this price of being female-bodied: Last year, five women sued the state of New York to abolish the tampon tax.

No word on when the bill will become law, and the program can begin.

User Engagement for Beyonce’s Pregnancy Announcement: By The Numbers

Beyonce's Instagram pregnancy announcement, 2017 (Time)

Beyonce’s Instagram pregnancy announcement, 2017 (Time)

OK, we all know that Beyonce is PREGNANT with TWINS, right? (And if that’s the first time you’re hearing this, OMG!!) The music icon announced her pregnancy on February 1st via an Instagram post on her personal account. (Later, she released an entire pregnancy photoshoot that was shot by Awol Erizku.)

As much fuss was made about Kim Kardashian breaking the Internet in 2014, Beyonce actually *did* the damn thing. Beyonce now has the most-liked photo on Instagram.

Here are some numbers to put this fact in context:

Likes on Beyonce’s 2017 Pregnancy Instagram Announcement (#): 10,468,451 

Beyonce’s Instagram Followers (#): 94.8M

Pregnancy Announcement User Engagement (# of likes/# of followers): 11.04%

Number of Likes the Pregnancy Announcement Received within 30 minutes of posting: 1.2M+

Number of Likes the Pregnancy Announcement Received within 1 hour of posting: 2.4M+

Amount of time it took for the pregnancy announcement to become Instagram’s most-liked photo: Less than 8 hours

Number of Likes the Pregnancy Announcement got to become Instagram’s most-liked photo: 6.33M

Second most-liked Instagram photo of all time: Selena Gomez sipping a Coke

Number of Likes for second-most-liked Instagram photo of all time: 6.4M

 

 

#ThrowbackThursday: Beyonce’s Pregnancy Announcement, 2011

Beyonce at the VMAs, 2011 (The Daily Mail)

Beyonce at the VMAs, 2011 (The Daily Mail)

By now, everyone in the entire world knows that Beyonce is pregnant with twins. (And if this is new to you, who are you? Do you even exist? I have so many questions.) The superstar revealed her pregnancy in an Instagram post to her personal account, followed by more shots of her pregnancy photoshoot to her website.

Remember, this is the second time Beyonce has unleashed a pregnancy announcement on the unsuspecting world. Way back in 2011, she announced her pregnancy at the MTV Video Music Awards (a.k.a. the VMAs). Technically, she announced it twice: once on the red carpet, cradling her bump while clad in a flowing orange gown, and then during her performance onstage. During the latter, Beyonce rubbed her bump and said to the crowd, “I want you to feel the love that’s growing inside of me.”

Of course, we now know that daughter would be Blue Ivy, age five.

Google Trends: “Birth Control” vs. “Male Birth Control”

Birth Control Pill Container (The Holy Kale)

Birth Control Pill Container (The Holy Kale)

With the news that a new form of male contraception could soon be on the horizon, I was curious to see how Google searches were reflecting that.

The parameters I used were looking at the last five years worldwide.

First, here’s the trend for searches for “birth control:”

Google Trends: 'Birth Control' searches, worldwide 2012-2017

Google Trends: ‘Birth Control’ searches, worldwide 2012-2017

Not surprisingly, the interest in the topic remains consistently high throughout the timeframe. In terms of regions, the top three regions that searched the term were Jamaica (100%), Trinidad & Tobago (88%), and the United States (82%).

Since birth control is through to be traditionally the woman’s responsibility  (*eyeroll*), let’s see what happens when we put “male birth control” searches against “birth control:”

Google Trends: 'Birth Control' vs. 'Male Birth Control' worldwide, 2012-2017

Google Trends: ‘Birth Control’ vs. ‘Male Birth Control’ worldwide, 2012-2017

Wow. I didn’t expect the difference to be that great.

One thing that’s really interesting: Google Trends also pulls up related searches. The third most popular search was for “snopes male control.” Of course, Snopes is a site educated to debunking myths, so it appears that some users were curious to see whether male birth control was even a legit thing or not.

I tried searching “vasalgel” (the male contraceptive gel being tested) against “birth control” and “male birth control,” and the search for the former basically mirrored the trendline for “male birth control.”

As more options for male contraception hit the market, hopefully more users will be searching for male birth control. And also believe male birth control actually exists.

 

13K Women Interested in Running for Public Office

Women's March (Social Work Blog)

Women take part in a protest against Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump outside the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago, Illinois, U.S. October 18, 2016. REUTERS/Joshua Lott – RTX2PDGE

Ever since Donald Trump became the president-elect in November, women have felt compelled to act out. The Women’s Marches that took place all over the world on January 21 were a great example. Now, some women are interested in taking their civic duty further by running for office.

NY Mag‘s “The Cut” estimates there are 13K women interested in running for public office. They arrived at this number by looking to different organizations that help women run for public office: VoteRunLead has 3.5K women interested, EMILY’s List has 4K+, and She Should Run has 8K+ interested women.

As the article points out, it’s unlikely that all of these women will run. It’s also probable that other women will join these organizations later. It remains to be seen how (or even if) this will impact the 2018 midterm elections, but it certainly looks like #thefutureisfemale.

Male Contraceptive Gel 100% Effective in Primate Trials

Vasalgel rendering (The Guardian)

Vasalgel rendering (The Guardian)

If you’re yearning for male birth control that isn’t a condom, you’re in luck! Scientists have been making progress on Vasalgel, a male contraceptive gel. A recent trial of the product on primates found the gel to be 100% effective at preventing pregnancy.

It’s pretty simple how Vasalgel works: the gel prevents sperm from exiting the penis. If a man decides he’d like to stop using the gel, the effects can be eradicated by using ultrasound waves to dissolve the gel. Vasalgel doesn’t affect “sperm levels or hormone production.”

Here’s how the study, conducted by scientists at the California National Primate Research, was set up:

For the study, 16 rhesus monkeys were selected to undergo the procedure before being placed back into groups with fertile females during mating season. After being monitored for six months, the researchers found that no pregnancies had occurred—the typical pregnancy rate in such unaffected conditions is usually around 80 percent.

The Parsemus Foundation funded the research for the study. Results were published in Basic and Clinical Andrology journal.

Vasalgel isn’t the only contraceptive gel being tested right now. In India, reversible inhibition of sperm under guidance (RISUG) is being tested on men. This gel works differently in that it seeks to injure swimming sperm. RISUG has shown to be effective for up to 10 years within the 200 men on whom the product was tested.

Trends: #NoPhotoshop

Iskra-Lawrence 'Share Your Spark' AerieReal campaign (Glamour)

Iskra-Lawrence ‘Share Your Spark’ AerieReal campaign (Glamour)

It used to be that brands only used tall, skinny, (mostly) blonde girl in their advertising. This was thought to be aspirational: You wanted to be the girl in the photo, and how best to be that? Buy their clothes (or perfume, or lingerie, or whatever the brand was selling). But the pursuit of one aspirational body type led those who didn’t possess said body type (either by genetic luck-of-the-draw or by carefully-chosen enhancements) to believe themselves unworthy and maybe inferior.

Thankfully, that trend is on its way out. The current thing (which, I hope, stays) is all about positivity and accepting yourself as you are, because you are enough. For women’s brands, this has translated to, among other things, banning Photoshop.

This month, Glamour released its all-women, no Photoshop issue. The magazine’s staff has gone all-in on banning photo retouching: A quick glance at the “Girls” cast on the cover, and you can see that the cellulite on Lena Dunham’s thigh hasn’t been wiped out. And why should it? It’s just a natural part of life.

In January 2014, American Eagle’s underwear brand Aerie launched its #AerieReal campaign, featuring models of all shapes and sizes and no Photoshopping. The intimates brand is aimed at girls ages 15-22, and the campaign has been used to promote body acceptance, positivity and confidence.

Aerie’s gamble has paid off exponentially: Q2 2014 sales were up 9% from the previous quarter, and continued to grow for the rest of the year. In 2015, sales were up by 20%, with Q4 2015 seeing a 26% increase year-over-year. And sales in Q1 2016 were up 32%.

Body acceptance and positivity has also bled into regular women’s lives, and features prominently on social media. Searching #nophotoshop on Instagram brings up 460K+ posts.It’s clear that this trend isn’t going away anytime soon.